On Wednesday afternoon, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) East London were alerted by the Transnet National Ports Authority, following reports of two sailors requiring urgent patient evacuation off the ship, sailing from Abijan to Durban. The two men, a 53 year old Panamanian and a 53 year old Filipino were reported to be unconscious and suspected to be suffering from Malaria.
MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) had been alerted earlier in the day and a Government Health EMS duty doctor had assessed the patients conditions and requested an urgent patient evacuation operation. MRCC scrambled an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, accompanied by NSRI Durban ASR rescue swimmers and with Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were airborne from Durban.
The forces were hoisted onto the ship from the helicopter and found the two male sailors in the care of the ships medics, one in a serious condition, and one in a critical condition. Medical treatment was administered and both patients conditions were stabilised, so they were hoisted into the helicopter secured into specialised rescue stretchers.
The Filipino patient’s heart failed once he was in the helicopter and CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts were commenced by the paramedics and a heart beat was restored. Medical treatment to both patients continued onboard the helicopter, that landed at hospital in Durban at 23h06.
It was later confirmed that patients' conditions had deteriorated and they both died.